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Utah Governor Signs Bill Requiring All Mobile Phones and Tablets to Block Out Porn

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The governor of Utah has signed a bill that would mandate that all new mobile devices in the state have pornography-blocking filters installed.

Upon signing the bill, Governor Spencer Cox said that it would send an “important message” about preventing adult online content from being accessed by children.

However, while Cox has passed the bill, it “wouldn’t kick in immediately and would remain on pause until five other states pass a similar law,” reports The Salt Lake City Tribune.

Under the bill, mobile devices purchased in the state would have a filter that automatically filters out pornography. However, the proposal stipulates that “certain users” would be able to disable the filter for “specific content.”

Phone manufacturers would also face a $10 fine per violation in the case that minors access pornography on phones that don’t have the filter.

While moral crusaders in the state see the measure as necessary to prevent children from accessing adult content, free speech advocates have criticized the bill for infringing on the rights of residents.

“This is another example of the Legislature dodging the constitutional impacts of the legislation they pass,” said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Jason Groth

Adult film actress Cherie DeVille also wrote an open letter to Utah Republicans published in The Daily Beast urging them to reconsider the bill.

“When I was growing up, my parents monitored everything I watched,” she wrote.

“Today, technology makes this more challenging, but my sister manages to keep R-rated movies away from her kids,” she added. “If you want to monitor what your kid watches on their phone, install parental controls that have existed since AOL.”

“If you want Republicans to focus more on creating legislation around real issues, defend the free speech of the pornographers whose profession conservatives oppose,” DeVille wrote. “Remind conservatives that free speech means free speech for everyone, especially those you oppose.”

It remains yet to be seen whether other states will follow Utah’s lead, but it would hardly be surprising. When Utah declared pornography a “public health hazard” in 2016, states like Arizona, Idaho, Kansas and Pennsylvania took similar stances.  

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